Danielle in da House!!

This week’s Friday Feature comes from a friend that upon our initial meeting, we laughed so hard we almost died choking on cookies. There’s not too many people that I experience that deep, impulsive, can’t control it laughter with right off the bat, but this person seems to always bring it out. Coming in sweet, Miss Danielle Matesi!!!

“Don’t y’all just love pancakes? I do. Probably in an unhealthy way. I could eat an entire batch by myself. So on National Pancake Day a couple weeks ago, I had to celebrate. I sent my mom a picture of Ricotta Hotcakes with Honeycomb Butter and told her I was making them for dinner. It’s a slightly unconventional dinner, but she was just glad she didn’t have to cook that night (yes, I live with my parents.) When Susu asked me to be this week’s Friday Feature, we both knew right away that this was the recipe I needed to talk about.IMG_0011_2

 I found the recipe on the blog Top With Cinnamon. Izy Hossack, the blogger behind Top With Cinnamon, loves pancakes as much as I do. This recipe actually originated at Granger & Co., a restaurant in London. They aren’t like any pancakes you’ve ever eaten. The ricotta and whipped egg whites give them a little savory twist and a fluffier consistency. The honeycomb butter is a MUST and perfected with homemade honeycomb candy. Don’t eat these pancakes without it. You really don’t even need syrup, which is saying something. So next time you’re craving pancakes on a Sunday morning, forego the box mix and treat yo’self with these!

First prepare the Honeycomb Butter so it will be ready as soon as the hotcakes are stacked!

Ingredients for HoneyComb Candy: (To be used in the Honeycomb Butter) 1 1/2 cups sugar 1/2 cup water 3 tablespoons honey 1/3 cup corn syrup 4 teaspoons baking soda HoneyComb Candy Directions: In a large saucepan, gently combine the sugar and water then add the honey and corn syrup. Boil until amber colored and the sugar looks like caramel. Add the baking soda, and with a wooden spoon, stir in gently. Make sure to drop all four teaspoons of baking soda into the mix before you stir, because as soon as you do, it starts to foam up and looks crazy! Pour the mixture onto a silpat or a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan, and let cool. (Recipe courtesy Gale Gand via Food Network) 1-honeycombIngredients for the Honeycomb Butter: 1 oz of honeycomb candy 1 stick of unsalted butter 1 tsp honey Directions: Cut the homemade honeycomb candy into chunks. Place the honeycomb into a sandwich bag and bash with a rolling pin so that it’s the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. Pour into a bowl along with the butter and honey. To cream together the honeycomb butter, press a fork into the mixture against the side of the bowl. Keep doing that until it’s mixed well.IMG_0001_2 IMG_0002_2Then form into a log and wrap in clingfilm (or form individual scoops using a small, mechanical ice cream scoop). The butter obviously doesn’t have to be scooped before it’s chilled, but the little scoops are so cute though, aren’t they?  Chill until needed.IMG_0003_2 Now for the Cakes! Ingredients for the Hotcake Batter: 4 eggs, separated 3/4 cup (185 ml) milk, any kind 1 cup (125 g) plain flour 1 heaped tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 1 1/3 cups (300 g/10.7 oz) ricotta6-ingredients Directions: In a medium sized bowl, stir together the egg yolks, milk, flour, baking powder and salt with a fork. IMG_0004_2Add the ricotta to the bowl and mix just a little (seriously like 3 stirs; you want tasty ricotta lumps because that’s what makes the cakes). IMG_0006_2In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff. The first time I made these, I just used a whisk and good ole fashion manpower, and they just would NOT get stiff enough. The second time, I used my KitchenAid electric mixer on speed 10, and they fluffed up into stiff peaks in no time. IMG_0007_2Pour the contents of the first medium sized bowl into the bowl with the egg whites and fold in using a rubber spatula. There should be some lumps of ricotta throughout.IMG_0009_2Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat with enough vegetable oil to coat the pan. Scoop about 1/3 cup of batter into the pan to make 1 hotcake (depending on the size of your pan you can cook around 2 or 3 at a time). IMG_0010_2Use a metal spatula to check when the underside of the hotcake is golden, then flip and cook on the other side until golden as well. Remove to a plate and serve warm with the honeycomb butter, maple syrup and fresh fruit!IMG_0012_2 **Note: The heaped teaspoon of baking powder in the batter is important. The first time I made these I measured a teaspoon exactly, and the pancakes were a little flat. They were still delicious, but they didn’t have the puffiness I wanted to achieve so be a little generous here. Enjoy!”

Soooo….Sunday morning at Danielle’s? What time would you like us? Thank you for sharing this amazing pancake recipe and if this is unconventional, I don’t want to be conventional! Thanks Danielle!

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Fallon in da House!!!

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This week’s Friday Feature comes from the girl who loves and appreciates food as much as I do, who I can always count on for an “I’m in,” and who’s always down for dessert….coming in hot…..Miss Fallon Marie Sposatooooooooo!

Sposato Family Braciole

“Crockheads…I hope you’re ready to be schooled in some authentic Italian eats because this is the real deal…. a Sposato family favorite I’ve been eating since I was a kid. BUT. Full disclosure: it appears as though no one in my family writes things down or keeps recipes. This is a very loose recipe…I tried to keep up with my dad as best I could.

Anyhow…Christmas time in the Sposato household means one thing: Italian food traditions. Every year we bake Italian pastries by the plenty (biscotti, pizzelles, totos, etc.) and we celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fish on Christmas Eve. Occasionally, we have lasagna on Christmas day.

On the 26th when I was “working remotely” aka on house arrest with my computer but doing nothing productive, I decided to cook with my dad and document an Italian dish we eat all throughout the year. This dish isn’t complicated but does require many hours simmered in sauce – perfect to be adapted for the crockpot.IMG_0001

Braciole, pronounced bra’zhul, can be cooked with meatballs or in place of them with pasta. Known as braciole in the United States, in Italy they’re called involtini, which means “little bundles”. The little bundles we put together are thin slices of beef with a savory filling, rolled and held together by a toothpick. Interestingly in our variation we use raisins, which are surprisingly good in savory dishes.

Ingredients:IMG_0003
-Approx. 2.5 lbs top round steak thin sliced or flank steak thin sliced
-4-5 cloves of minced garlic, more or less to taste
-2 small boxes of raisins
-Large bunch of fresh parsley
-Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
-Italian seasoning
-Garlic salt
-Pepper
-Toothpicks
-Jar of store bought marinara sauce
-Extra virgin olive oil
-Pasta – penne or other small type

  1. Cut beef into strips. This depends on personal preference but I suggest 1-2 inches wide. The beef is easier to work with if its really cold so keep it refrigerated until the last moment.
  2. Layer on each beef strip garlic salt, pepper, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, parsley, raisins and Parmesan cheese.IMG_0004
  3. Roll strip up into a little bundle and secure with one toothpick per bundle.IMG_0002
  4. Once you have seasoned and rolled all strips, put them in olive oil over medium high heat. Brown the bundles, remove from heat and add to the crockpot.IMG_0008IMG_0006
  5. Add store bought marinara to crockpot and let simmer for 3-4 hours over low setting.

Optional:

After we browned the braciole, we deglazed the pot with good red wine for the base of our sauce. Then we put our sauce in the pot and added peppers, whole canned tomatoes and crushed red pepper. Once this was all stirred together, we added to the crock pot over the meat. Again, it depends on personal preference with the sauce.IMG_0007

To serve:

We served this with penne pasta. Remember to remove the toothpicks prior to serving or remind your diners to do so on their plates and please don’t sue me if you forget. Buon appetito!”IMG_0005

Fal, this looks amaaaazing and I would like for you to cook this for the crew sooner than later please 🙂 Thanks for your Friday Feature!!!10698590_10102538326664937_5254771097725680975_n

ShuLaur in the house!

Crockpottuesday has a special guest in the house this week for Friday Feature. This person is probably one of my sweetest friends and nicest of my group of high school friends. Girls…the one that always said, “well you can if you want to…” Miss Lauren Shuler in da kitchen!!!!!

“About a month ago I was tailgating with Susu at a South Carolina home game (side note: go Tigers and go Gators!!) when I expressed to her my wish to use my crockpot more, which, by the way, I received as a Christmas gift but had never used it. She encouraged me to just research recipes and go for it. Crockpotting and cooking is easy and about experimenting. So my first crockpot experience which was 10 months after I received it began like this….picture of us

October. The best month of the year: cooler weather, college football, Oktoberfest beers, the return of The Walking Dead and post season baseball (the last two mainly because my boyfriend, Stephen, enjoys them). *Editor’s note: also the month Lauren and Stephen were born!!!* Alongside cooler weather comes warm comfort food, my personal favorite being CHILI! There are so many ways to make chili. We’ve already made this recipe twice this fall. One of the great things about this recipe is that it lends itself well to variations depending on personal preference and what you have in your cupboard. It’s easy to make and you have leftovers for days which certainly is a plus.chilliIngredients:
1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cans of kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
2 cans of pinto beans (rinsed and drained)
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of chili powder
1 teaspoon of cumin Red pepper flakes
Sriracha

Dircetions:
1. Brown ground beef in skillet with garlic.

2. Once meat is browned, add celery, carrots, onion, red pepper flakes (to taste, depending on your desire for spicy, we used about a teaspoon). Keep cooking in skillet on medium for about 6 minutes.

3. Transfer contents of skillet into crockpot and add beans, tomato paste, chili powder, and cumin. Add Sriracha. The amount of Sriracha will vary depending on your preference. We used about 2 tablespoons.

4. Set on low for 6.5 hours

It’s that simple! Add sour cream, cheese, green onion, cornbread, or whatever your stomach desires!

And, of course, a good fall beer, as pictured by our puppy Bailey below.bailey

Thanks Lauren- will definitely be copying this recipe in the near future!! Happy fall y’all…and get yo chilli on dawg!

Benjamin in the House!

It’s been a long time coming y’all. I can remember on this one particular day, my senior year of college, taking a walk with Mary up Lauren Street from 5 points in Columbia. We were talking about guys we’ve dated and what we were looking for next. My exact words to Mary were, “I want to meet a good lawyer boy, but one that’s a little country and likes to fish and hunt.” Kid you not, a WEEK later I met good ‘ole Country Boy Benjamin and it has been exactly 5 years ago TODAY that we met. So- with that said, coming in nice and slow like a good old boy…BEN JOHN TRIPP!IMG_0005 “Some of you may have recently heard about so-called 4-D entertainment, like this. Considering the fourth dimension is just time, I’m sure people who make plays are aware of it. At any rate, I’m one-upping the mainstream media and taking this blog post to 5-D. This means you can ctrl+click on the links and get cool additional tabs to open up. Some of them are music, so as you read, clicking will play songs that may or may not tonally or thematically relate to anything.

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 Eating is, in significant part, a primal and functional behavior. I believe you don’t need to try hard every time you eat. Enjoy simple meals with simple and readily-available ingredients from time to time, and don’t let a dish’s lack of ostentation disqualify it.

For blocks are better cleft with wedges
Than tools of sharp or subtle edges,
And dullest nonsense has been found
By some to be the most profound.

Samuel Butler, 17th century British writer

A fine example: the fried bologna sandwich. That makes this is a bolog blog. A public service announcement for baloney miscreants: for purposes of both the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service and the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, bologna and hot dogs are generally prepared with the same ingredients and processes. These are the facts of tha RILL WUUUURRRRLLLLLDDDDDD.

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            While summer has now wound down to fall, in the midst of summer my outdoor activity was at a peak. Recently Susu and I were at the beach and began a particular Saturday morning by netting crabs on a salt flat for fish bait. After some time slogging through plough and enough humidity to blur the transition from water to air, we dropped off a couple of barely-legal blues in the fridge and headed straight for the beach.IMG_0009

For the ladies, at least in my experience, simply sitting on the beach is not just relaxing. The raison d’ beaching is transcendence. I don’t feel it, but I get it. Instead, for me the beach goes like this: procrastinate putting on sunscreen; drink beer; get sandy and sticky; drink more beer, stare off into space; realize sunglasses are sandy and sticky, futilely attempt to clean; get in the water to cool off, get salty and stickier; get out, drink more beer; “OMG you’re burnt,” put on sticky sunscreen, get it on your sunglasses; drink more beer, run out of beer, get hungry and ready to go, be burnt, sticky, sweaty; put on sticky shirt and sandy shoes, trudge home through sand carrying beach gear.

Having already progressed as such on this particular day by 1:00 or so, we needed a quick trip back to the kitchen. In these circumstances, I’ll keep it simple, stupid. Fried baloney sandwich. One great reason for making this sandwich at the beach is the easy access to fresh tomatoes. At least through Marion and Aynor, roadside produce stands are plentiful. Of course, using homegrown tomatoes is exemplary. Here’s what to do.

Have more tomatoes than you need just for a layer on a sandwich. You should be able to throw some salt and pepper on a half or a third of the slices as you work and just eat them straight up.IMG_0001Preparing the baloney is simple. I recommend Gwaltney brand because you’re making a homespun/country cooking/comfort food type of dish. Gwaltney is HQ’d in Virginia, and Food Lion, HQ’d in Salisbury, NC, usually carries it. Plus “GWALTNEY BOLOGNA” just has a nice ring to it. Who wouldn’t want to try that. picture-bologna

Slice off a hunk of butter and melt it on your pan or skillet.  As the butter melts, peel off a slice of baloney.  You don’t need the red security tape around the edge; it’s just there to prevent thefts of this prized deli meat, kind of like how those plastic tags on clothes are deactivated at the register.  Mash your thumb between the meat and tape and SHAKE IT OFF, AH AH, SHAKE IT OFF.IMG_0002

Soon after flopping this guy in the hot pan, the heat will cause the edges to turn up like a slice of baloney that belongs to lil John.  Not ideal for a sandwich layer.  Solution?  Some good ole country ingenuity—take you a utensil and pierce the sides, thusly disarming the surface tension.  This is the pattern I use because my grandma used to do it like that.  I call it the Goode homolosine projection baloney slice-pattern.IMG_0003

While the baloney cooks, which only takes about two to three minutes a side with medium-high heat, put mayo on bread. You should already have some Duke’s mayo in the fridge. Get it out. If you don’t keep white bread around, you should have picked some up from the store when you got your baloney. SUNBEAM KING THIN ONLY. Only the softest, fluffiest, highest-sugar-additives processed-wheat white bread will do. Other styles, like Merita Old Fashioned, are stiff and have that flavorless, papery crust on top. I don’t get that. And put mayo on both sides of the bread. If you’re one of these people who gets frightened by mayonnaise, it’s ok, you don’t need a lot. But you definitely want the flavor and feel of warm bread and mayo sopping from the heat and grease of the baloney on one side of the sandwich and the flavor and feel of cool, salty and peppery tomato with mayo on the other side. If you can’t handle that much mayo, leave.IMG_0004When you put this thing together, it’s gonna get sloppy. The bread will hold up at first, but by the last bite, you got a soggy mess of hay to sling in the barn. I believe Hegel referred to this as the dialectic of “schnitzelbrot,” which roughly translates to fried baloney sandwich. Despite the simplicity of the carefully selected ingredients, it is a decadent sandwich that evolves from bite to bite and juxtaposes a number of sensations: salty and sweet, cool and warm, mushy and crisp, greasy and dry. And it’s JUICY. AND IF YOU DIDN’T KNOW, NOW YOU KNOW.IMG_0008

A couple of final thoughts. Again, there’s no pretense here. We’re not worried about GMOs or HMOs or glutein-frees or paleo’s. If you’re gonna eat this sandwich, make sure you’ve been doing something dirty and sweaty outside beforehand. Don’t wash up before you start cooking. Maybe recite some Whitman as a prelude:

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

When you finish cooking, take it outside. Grab a cheap, ice cold beer in one hand. Mash the muddy, blackened fingertips of your other hand into the spongy, virginal white bread. Let grease and juice funnel down your palm as you chomp down. Use your sandwich-holdin’ arm to wipe the sweat from your brow as you chew. Notice your cute flip-flop plate. Because when you’re done bologning, there’s more work to be done, more play to be played, more life to be lived. We mortals are but shadows and dust.

And last but not least, to avoid a fried balonely sandwich, make an extra to share with someone special!!!”IMG_0006

Welp you get what you ask for and I”m happy with that…even if it comes with eating the occasional fried bologna sandwich! Glad I met you on this day 5 years ago love you!hunting picture

Katie in the House!

There’s not a lot of people in this world that I greet with a large hug, a lot of clapping, a lick, and a 10 second sniff session. All this excitement happens though every time I see one of my best friends and, as of recent, my soon- to- be- again- ROOMMATE! Crockheads, for this week’s Friday Feature, my number one dawg, Katie Nichols, has the kitchen.

katie

When I think Summer, I think BARBEQUE!

“Okay people, that was one heck of a winter. Now I’m no beach babe (unless Casper could pass as a beach babe, that is) and most of my friends would tell you I love a good winter, but as a bona fide southerner (aka pansy when it comes to truly cold weather) I’m peelin’ off my last layer of long undies (yep, I wear those) and shoutin’ BRING ON SUMMER! And when I think Summer, I think BARBEQUE!bbq

One of my favorite things about barbeque is the various forms it can take—both linguistically and physically. Take, for starters, that the word “barbeque” is one of the few words in the English language that can function as a noun or verb. Most of us Southerners think of it as a noun—usually the likes of a mouth-watering pile of pulled pork (more on this later). However, the term can also be used as a verb…to barbeque some ribs or to barbeque chicken for dinner. You get the picture. Let’s move on to more concrete examples.

By birth I’m no big city gal (shout out to Murrells Inlet), but my curiosity has led me in the way of some amazing travels. For example, in Australia (shout out to my Aussies), the term “barbeque” refers exclusively either to 1) an actual gathering of friends and family, usually in a backyard and/or 2) the actual device in which one would use to cook such outdoor meals. “Barbie”—short for barbeque of course—is the Australian synonym for what we call a “grill.” barbie

Now, moving on to more domestic discrepancies—I’m talking right here in the good ole U.S. of A. I debated mentioning the following story, as it is still a subject of an uneasy “agree to disagree” with my wonderful (cough cough, Yankee) boyfriend, Jay. It involves the day it really hit me that I was dating a northerner. During our first year of dating we ventured into Jim-N-Nick’s one day on King Street for lunch. As I scurried off to the ladies I quickly told Jay what I wanted. I said, “a barbeque sandwich, please.”

I’m quite the omnivore, so what follows didn’t really affect my appetite (I still ate every bite) as much as it got my pensive wheels a turnin.’

Drumroll. He ordered me a barbeque chicken sandwich.

From my southern born and bred vantage point, obviously, because I did not specify a different kind of meat I, by default, (say it with me Southerners) meant pork.

I’ll never forget the bewildered expression on his face as he drank his unsweetened tea and tried to make sense of my explanation that in the South we consider barbeque to be pulled pork, unless otherwise specified.jay

Now, all that being said, I made a BBQ Beer CHICKEN crockpot recipe—and it is GOOD people! I asked my friends Lee and Logan to share the meal with me. Since I moved to Greenville a few months ago, they have been so gracious; they’ve fed me A LOT (I’m that guest that takes seconds every time). I figured it was my turn. When I ran the idea by Lee she immediately offered to make blue cheese cole slaw to go with our BBQ beer chicken….dynamite.lee

Before I leave you with what I used and what I did, let me just say…

Wherever you’re from and whatever “barbeque” means to you—I hope you’ll CELEBRATE IT THIS SUMMER!

Ingredients (makes about 8 servings and stellar leftovers)

  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 large)

  • 1 tbsp onion powder

  • 1 tbsp paprika

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1tsp salt
/1 tsp black pepper

  • 1 cup beer (any kind you like; I used Stella)
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) of barbecue sauce (any kind you like—I used a combination of Trader Joes Carolina Gold and Weber Real Molasses)
  • hamburger buns
 (we didn’t use—but of course its an option)
  • coleslaw (preferably blue cheese coleslaw if you have a friend that makes it 🙂 )

Directions
Put all ingredients in crockpot except chicken. Stir to combine.
Add the chicken to the mixture and spoon the sauce on top of the chicken.
Cook on low for 6-7 hours.
Shred the chicken and let sit for a few minutes before serving so it can fully absorb the sauce.
I served with blue cheese coleslaw and sweet potato fries.

platesauce Recipe adapted from http://www.fatgirltrappedinaskinnybody.com “

Katie, my dawg, well done I will certainly look forward to making your BBQ Chicken. Actually, can you just do it when you move in? Thanks for your Friday Feature!

 

Odom in the House!

Crockheads,

You’ve seen him around town, you’ve heard of him on the blog, and you know the name, now coming to you live from Charleston for Friday Feature……. ALEX ODOM!!!!!!!!!! snaps snaps snaps.

“Having never blogged before I hope you all can hear my writer’s voice.  It’s more of a yell so be glad this isn’t a podcast. What a true honor to have Susu relinquish control of CPT and author a Friday Feature! Big shoes to follow in with Richard (literally, he’s huge) and Mr. Kassel… but I’m no slouch so here we go. Having read CPT since the Manhattan days and helped Su work her way through Charleston’s finest restaurants (Zaxby’s anyone? Kidding, Charleston Grill is where it’s at) this is a true honor. I have been in Charleston for the last 2 years working on a Master’s degree at MUSC, but have been cooking since childhood. Coming from a family of well-fed individuals if you wanted to eat, you had to cook. Or at least contribute. And in honor of the upcoming Gamecock football season—139 days y’all—I decided on Cajun Boiled Peanuts. The original Redneck Candy and perfect for tailgate.  Beautiful in its simplicity, all you need are a few ingredients and a little patience and you will wow even the snootiest of Clemson fans.
 
Ingredients:
1 bag or RAW peanuts… do not get green, they are terrible
3/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons red pepper flakes
Hot sauce
Enough water to cover the peanuts, adding as needed
Heavy plates
*All ingredients are to taste, so this is just a guideline
 
Wash peanuts in a colander and place in crockpot with plain water covering the nuts. Place heavy plates over the top and let soak for at least 6 hours. Leave crockpot OFF.

plates
Remove plates and add all seasonings. Replace plates and set crockpot to LOW.
Let peanuts cook for 15-18 hours. The plates need to stay on for a while to cook evenly. But when the color darkens you can remove the plates and just stir occasionally. in pot

Remember this is an all day affair and peanuts are extremely hard to mess up.
Approximate cook time for this batch was 18 hours, and they were perfect I must say. The longer they cook the stronger the flavor.
Serve with a fine craft beer such as Bud Light.

beer 
A bike delivery for Su and Kendall at the Charleston Place makes for very jealous co-workers.Su See you all in August, Go Cocks!

These boiled peanuts were cooked perfectly! Kendall and I destroyed them at work…and I could handle the heat! Odom, thanks for the Friday Feature…what’s next on our bucket list? I’m not canoeing to Edisto…1546364_10201851009865506_1373382752_n

My Pops in the House!

Ladies and Gentleman, Happy Friday Feature! Coming to you now my number 1 man, my main inspiration, and where all this cooking and crocking derived from. All the way from Columbia, South Carolina my very own poppas John Kassel on Crockpottuesday!!!  (aroooooo the crowd goes wild!)

CrockPot Barbecue Ribs? Yes, Really!the_finished_ribs     The season is changing. It is getting warmer and the days longer. When I got home from work the other day, it was still light out. And it wasn’t raining! This change effects how I like to cook. As we move toward spring and summer, the grill beckons. My charcoal cooker sits on the back deck. The beautiful weather pushes me outside. But before I devote luxurious time and attention to cooking over outdoor fire, it is time for one last crockpot meal to make. My faithful crockpot has kept me warm and nourished all winter long with Susu’s delightful recipes of cranberries and pork, beef chuck roast, and of course, Boston butt. (“What’s in that bad boy!”). I love coming home from work, opening the door, and being greeted by wonderful aromas, as if someone had been cooking all day. That is the beauty of the crockpot. So, it is only fitting to present a crockpot recipe of a southern, summer favorite: BBQ ribs. Yes, ribs can be cooked in a crockpot. It is true that the iconic smoky flavor is missing. But the ease of unattended cooking and the sweet tenderness of the finished meal cannot be beat. So, for this Friday Feature, let’s talk ribs.

Cooking ribs in a crockpot could not be easier. This recipe is a little more elaborate because I am trying strenuously to make it harder than usual…trying to coax out as much flavor as possible. So, for the ingredients:

At least 3lbs to 4lbs of  ribs. The amount is really determined by the size of your crockpot. I have loaded mine up and still got good results. The choice of ribs is a matter of preference. I am using St. Louis style ribs because that was what the Publix had for sale. But you can use any sort of ribs; country-style, spare ribs, baby back ribs. They are all pork ribs but different cuts. Try different ones.                                              uncooked_ribs            Spice mixtures: Have on hand salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, chili powder, brown sugar. Notice I did not list amounts. Up to you.

spices            Favorite BBQ sauce: 2-3 cups. You can make your own, or use a store bought brand. You can add it to the crockpot or put it on afterward. I tend to do the latter.

Assembly: Lay the ribs out on your counter. You can remove the membrane from back of ribs or leave it. Remove any excess fat with a sharp knife. Don’t gouge the meat. Rub the spice mixture on both sides of the ribs.

patting_on_spices

You can tell if you performed the task perfectly by the telltale darkened spots on your fingertips.                                   dirty_handsPlace the seasoned ribs in the crockpot with the meat side placed up against the inside wall of the crockpot. This will help develop a fine sear on the ribs.                                ribs_in_the_crockSome folks add their BBQ sauce to the ribs before placing the ribs in the crockpot. I wait instead. I think it produces a better caramelized effect to put the sauce on later. Cook for 8-10 hours on low. You want the meat falling off the bone but still have some chew left to the meat. I tend to cook longer times because I put the crockpot up in the morning and do not return till evening after work. If you have a crockpot with a timer, set it for 8-10 hours. At the appointed time, the crockpot will automatically revert to a warming cycle. Remove ribs from the crockpot and place on a foil lined cookie sheet. Smear with BBQ sauce and place in a 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Pull out and re-lather the ribs. Place back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. The layering builds up a gorgeous looking lacquer.                             painting_sauce_on_ribsPull out the ribs and serve as bundles of 3-4 ribs. Have plenty of paper napkins around. I like sides of coleslaw, scalloped potatoes, baked beans, or corn on the cob (wait for summer). A cold beer works well.  Crockpot BBQ St. Louis style ribs. My ode to summer!

the_mama_with_ribs                     the_group_shot            Special thanks to Jim Work, master craftsman, who helped with the preparation of this meal. We enjoyed having Robert and Jane Key, who came by to help eat these beautiful ribs.

Dad you’ve done it again. Looks amazing and the pictures are beautiful. I have to say i’m intimidated to follow that!

Thanks for reading Crockheads! Whose next??

Mooka in the house!

I need to brag on my friend and co-worker Larry Crosby real quick. Last week I asked him how his Valentine’s Day was. His easy-going reply, “It was good, how was yours?” I told him nice, but unfortunately had to work and then we ventured into crazy hotel talk. Later, I asked him where he went to dinner and it wasn’t until then that he unleashed on me his unbelievable Valentine’s Day. Larry cooked up a 4-course meal from scratch for his fiance AND paired each course with his homemade beer (Check out Mooka Brewery)! I was over the top impressed and I admired so much his modesty that I begged him to do a Friday Feature. So! Coming to you now….MOOKA’S VALENTINE’S DAY!

“Valentine’s. An epic day of love (or lack of) for many people. It’s probably my least favorite holiday for all the obvious reasons, but I am in a quite awesome relationship myself so I try to embrace the day as much as the next man – Just get through it.

But seriously, I thought to myself, my fiancée and I are tying the knot soon and I’m over the elaborate, pre-fixe, $125 per person affair that seems to encompass the 14th of February. One thing that separates the men from the boys, isn’t some notion that you can throw chocolate and a few flowers at your sweetie in hopes of making your Valentine’s Day special. Nope, it’s the guys that approach the day with a uniqueness of style that makes her say, “Oh shit!”

So, since I consider myself a decent cook (and I was on a budget :)), I decided to up the ante and whip up a nice 4-course meal of my own. One thing I know is, the key to someone’s heart is FOOD.

I head to Harris Teeter and to no one surprise, the place is flooded. Not your usual, after-work, Friday crowd. Instead, guys are running around everywhere buying wine, last-minute roses, chocolates, you name it. I couldn’t help but smile ear to ear when I entered the store gazing at the amount of guys that may not be all about Valentine’s Day but knew they couldn’t go home empty-handed. Let’s just say, they better have brought something, or else.  Anyways, I pondered over the week what I would make so, I was plenty prepared.

The menu:

1st Course – Rice Noodle Soup with mustard greens, red pepper, garlic, soy ginger broth

soup

2nd Course – Lump Crab Cakes with tomato, okra, dill

crab

3rd Course – Grilled Prime Rib with garlic potatoes

prime rib

4lh Course- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Oops! No pics of the cheesecake, but it came out very well. I don’t bake so I considered it quite the accomplishment!

I paired everything with beers (Yes, Beers!) instead of wine. The pairings go amazingly well and it’s definitely a different touch.

I did a Ranger IPA for the first course to match with the ginger and cut through the spice.

A Belgian Blonde (Leffe) was for the crab cakes to complement the citrus in the dish but also provide sweetness to accompany the crab.

The steak was paired with Bell’s Amber ale. The caramel sweetness goes perfectly with the charred and caramelized sear on the steak. But also, the carbonation cleans the fat from the palette to get you ready for the next bite!

Finally, the cheesecake was paired with Duck Rabbit Milk Stout. It’s a sweet stout that goes great with dessert. Chocolate and Chocolate. Not much better than that!

couple pic

WOW! Thank you so much Larry for sharing!! All I gotta say is ….Gentlemen…hope you took notes 😉

Rich$ in the House!

Happy Friday Y’all! This week’s FRIDAY FEATURE is from one my best friends Richard Jordan. Enjoy below one of his recent recipes!

“What’s up Crockheads?! Rich$ here and I am honored to be a contributing writer for Crockpottuesday’s “Featured Friday”!

If ya didn’t know, ya should, that Susu and I have a lot in common. The main things we like are good friends, good times, and of course good food. Recently, the majority of our communication has been based on different bites we’ve cooked. To sum it up, Susu is my baby girl and best friend.

So, it’s a new year and with the New Year comes resolutions and with resolutions comes the ridiculous struggle with will power to follow through. For example, I said I wanted to make my bed every day for 2014 and that lasted 2 days. 2 days ya’ll, that’s awful. But, I do have one resolution and that is to eat better; not just eat better as a whole, but to remove gluten from my diet as a whole to see if I can get rid of my chronic stomach pains! Yes, it is hard, but as I’ve been going down this path, I’ve realized how many creative alternatives there are for gluten free diets.

Enough about me, let’s get to the good good and talk about a meal I think will satisfy multiple pallets. I’ve taken two of my loves, tacos and BBQ and made what I like to call “Southern Citrus Pork Tacos”. I hear you saying, “What’s in that bad boy?” Well it’s easy!

The Meat:
Medium Boston Butt
2 ½ cups white vinegar
3 oz Dole’s Orange, Pineapple and Banana Juice
Juice of 2 limes
4 cloves of garlic – minced
Salt and Pepper
EVOO

Get a medium sized Boston Butt (Susu stop giggling) and make your marinade with the above ingredients. Let that marinate overnight with the butt so it sucks up all that good citrus juice. The day of, put the booty in the Crockpot and make sure you allot 7-8 hours to cook! When the time has come, the meat literally falls off the bone and shreds with a small turn of a fork.

Next, let’s talk toppings…yeahhh folks, it’d be easy go with your regular sour cream lettuce and tomatoes, but why? Here are the toppings I suggest:

Black Bean Mash
2 cans of black beans
Half of a large white onion
EVOO

Sauté onion with evoo until brown and add 2 cans of un-drained black beans. Simmer for about 15 minutes and then use a spatula to smush the beans into a paste. This should be the first ingredient to touch your corn tortilla. Think of it as the foundation to the masterpiece you’re about to create and devour!

Marinated Red Onions (make the day before)
Half of a large red onion
3 oz. White Vinegar
2 cloves garlic,minced

Mix all above ingredients like a Polaroid picture.This purple relish makes a sweet crunch on top of your taco..freak.yes.

Tomato and Corn Salsa
Handful of cherry tomatoes – halved
Can of white corn
EVOO
Salt and Pepper

Make a little bar for your guest to pick and choose their toppings. I also put out some avocado, (wouldn’t be a susu party without some –cados) cheese, and gluten free corn tortillas.

Ya’ll…this meal was so good. I had my grandmother and mother over to be my guinea pigs and the three of us had no trouble putting these suckers away. This recipe almost made too much, but as a stag, it’s perfect for leftovers. The ONLY setback for me was the pork held a lot more moisture than I expected and made the tortillas a little soggy, but that didn’t stop me from eating three! So out of five pickle spears, I give it a solid four! Easy, delicious, different, and GLUTEN FREE- helping me stick with my resolution. I hope you enjoy my “Southern Citrus Pork Tacos”.”

Thanks Rich$!

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Zmudas in the House!

I was so thrilled to receive the sweetest email from Mary Zmuda last night. Please read below 🙂

“I moved to MD a few weeks ago and my new roommates (AKA my parents…) have been cooking dinner for me every night which, don’t get me wrong, has been great!  But being 25, I felt like it was about time I chipped in and offered to cook for them.  They, of course, jumped on my offer and decided to invite two of their friends over to “enjoy” the dinner I was going to cook.  Yikes – the pressure was on to actually make something edible.

I turned to Crockpottuesday to find a delicious recipe that I could make for a group of people with minimal effort – alas Chicken Tortilla Soup, the resident recipe featured in the January edition of South of Broad Living magazine.  This move was also strategic in the sense that if it didn’t turn out good I could always blame the recipe on someone else…

The main reason as to why I picked this recipe was because all of the ingredients were simple – they either were already in my (AKA my parents…) pantry or they were inexpensive and easy to find at the grocery store.  I literally followed the recipe exactly with the addition of a green pepper since I had one on hand, put everything into the crockpot on high, and VOILA! 3.5 hours later we all enjoyed delicious soup!

Here is some feedback about the recipe I either noticed while cooking or received from my dinner guests:
-If you have a small crockpot, half or 3/4 the recipe.  I made the full recipe but the crockpot was so full I had to transfer it to a large pot when it came time to shred the chicken and stir it.
-When the recipe calls for Lots.Of.Cumin this is not a lie.  Lots of cumin needs to be used and it really does make all the difference!
-I topped my soup with cheddar cheese, tortilla strips, and cilantro which was perfect!  Some of my dinner guests put sour cream and guacamole on theirs too which came highly recommended.
-Dinner guest Lisa said, “the amazing thing about this soup is that you can actually taste all the ingredients in it – there isn’t one that overpowers the others!  I will definitely be making this in the future.”
-Dinner guest Kim noted that, “it looked like a very healthy and light dish, but it was surprisingly filling!”
-All that dinner guest Richard could comment was, “Mmmmmmm” as he got up for seconds.

soup

crew

As you can see from the last picture, since we all felt like we ate a nutritious dinner we had to finish the evening with chocolate cheesecake and dessert wine.  Thanks Crockpottuesday!”

cakeThanks Mary for the Friday Feature! If anyone else has any recipes that they would like to share for a Friday Feature on Crockpottuesday that would make me so happy!

Have a great weekend Crockheads 🙂